Yes, I did have friends growing up.

Most of you probably don’t know the truth about my past.

I grew up homeschooled.

We lived on a ranch, miles away from any town. Once a month, my mom would pack the whole family into our  twelve-passenger van and we’d go into town. The pack of us were a bit of an oddity in Costco, our work boots and long denim skirts drawing stares as we tried not to look too curiously at the way everyone else dressed. Our family creed assured us that women wearing pants was a violation of Torah law, and we were the holy minority.

Just kidding!

I grew up in town, riding bikes and playing with neighbor kids. I took ballet and tap classes and I played soccer. I developed social skills.

I was homeschooled, and I grew up normal.

Surprised? Some people might be, as there seem to be a whole lot of myths and misconceptions about homeschooling and homeschooled kids. I am here to dispel these.

1. Homeschooled kids don’t have any friends (outside of family clans.)

This is the first misconception I run into when people find out I was homeschooled. People suddenly get a concerned look on their face, as they ask me, “Did you have any friends?”

Yes, I did.

Just like anyone, I made most of my friends through extracurricular activities. Sports, dance, art classes, whatever. I also made friends through school-related activities, just like anyone. Co-ops that homeschooling moms put together or field trips to cool places (which was one  of the perks.) I even made some friends from meeting kids at the park or around the neighborhood.

2. Your mom is your teacher.

Yes and no. Most people imagine homeschoolers arranged around a table or in rows with their mother standing at the front, wielding a yardstick in a matriarchal manner whilst lecturing about subject after subject.

Yes, my mom taught me loads, but she never ever lectured to us. My mom’s role as teacher was more of a Sacajawea through the forests of knowledge held in our home library. She also read aloud to us when the book was difficult, and explained concepts we struggled with.

For the most part, my education came from reading loads and loads of books.

3. Homeschooling families must fight all the time from being in such close proximity with each other.

This one is pretty absolutely wrong.

When all of us were at home, my siblings and I fought less than any other family we knew. It was because we were all at home together so much that we had to learn to deal with each other instead of just getting mad, just like living with roommates. (and no, there weren’t enough of us to need a twelve passenger van. I am one of four kids.)

If you can’t get along with your family, how are you supposed to develop any sort of social skills, such as dealing with annoying co-workers, teammates, or customers?

4. Homeschooled kids are smarter.

Absolutely not. A lot of homeschooling families are guilty of this misconception, too.

The only reason homeschooled kids seem smarter is because they are learning in a personalized environment, with a teaching style molded to suit their learning language. Homeschooled kids often learn faster because they can work at their own pace, which is why my siblings and I were never in any one grade. I learned English and History faster than Science, and my little sister learns Science and Literature faster than she learns math.

Homeschooled kids aren’t being held back by classmates that work at a different pace.

In such an environment, anyone could learn faster and easier. Homeschooled kids simply have the educational advantage.

5. Homeschooling is easier than going to school.

This one is only partially wrong.

Socially, homeschooling is drastically different, which for me made it easier. I am an introvert, so going to school with other kids eight hours a day would have been exhausting. I thrived with my more deliberate social outlets.

Academically, though, homeschooling is just so wildly different that it’s hard to compare. One thing that is easier, to be sure, is not having a lecture during the day and homework at night. All the homeschoolers I know lump them together, so you learn the math, do the work, and you’re done.

It can be harder though, for two reasons.

Because of the aforementioned personalized tutoring environment, kids are often at higher levels than their peers in some subjects, and you don’t have anyone breathing down your neck all day to make sure you’re paying attention or doing the reading, which brings me to my next misconception.

6. Homeschooling requires that one parent be present at all times, which makes it impossible for one (usually the mother) to have a job.

A lot of homeschooling families do go this route, but it’s not necessary.

Both of my parents have worked full time ever since I was tiny. My mom cleverly found a profession which allows her to work remotely, and so through my childhood she was doing triple duty as a career woman, mom, and teacher. Never have seen someone balance such precarious roles so well, and my education never suffered for it.

7. Homeschoolers are socially awkward.

This one is just such a generalization that typing it makes me snort.

Yes, some homeschoolers are socially awkward. So are a lot of kids who went to public school. So are a lot of kids that went to private school.

It just depends on the person, not how they were educated.

All of my siblings and I were homeschooled. My older sister is not socially awkward at all, and I am. It’s a personality thing.

8. Homeschooling is better/worse.

A lot of homeschooling families are very self-righteous about their educational decisions, but reality check– Homeschooling would not be the best choice for some families!

For me, homeschooling was definitely the best option. During my teen years in particular I was quite a sheep (still am sometimes) and I would not have dealt well with so many social pressures as are presented in a high school setting.

However, for someone who is totally extroverted, the lesser social activity that occurs would probably be unbearable.

Basically, it depends on the parents– how much they’re willing to put into the experience, because half-assed homeschooling is worse than the poorest public school.

    • Aubrey
    • October 5th, 2011

    If you’re socially awkward, I’m socially handicapped.

    • Erin
    • October 6th, 2011

    How delightful to see it from the side of the kid suffering through the experience ;-D

    I got all blushy at certain parts – I’m not so sure your “schooling” (as opposed to education) didn’t suffer from my triple-role choice, but your character certainly didn’t, so I’m content. I think you’re lovely, even if you can’t recite dates and genealogies back to Adam and do quadratic equations (whatever the heck those are) while making latte and conversing cleverly on the current event of the day.

    And Aubrey, you aren’t socially handicapped at all. You’re lovely too. Being a bit shy can be very charming and you pull that trick off beautifully.

    The world would be horrid if we had too many all-out extroverts – balance is a good thing.

    • Well, I can do quadratic equations and converse cleverly about current events whilst making lattes, so I think you’ve underestimated both of us!

    • Erin
    • October 6th, 2011


    Now what’s a quadratic equation again?

    • In mathematics, a quadratic equation is a polynomial equation of the second degree. The general form is
      where x represents a variable or an unknown, and a, b, and c are constants with a ≠ 0. (If a = 0, the equation is a linear equation.)
      (yes, I copied that from wikipedia. :) )

  1. I am totally sharing this with my online friends!!

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